“Super-fruit” is a marketing term first used in the food and beverage industry in 2005. Fruits labeled as “super-fruits” are valued because of their nutrient content, antioxidant values, and health benefits. Many of the fruits described in this category were originally found overseas and may not be found in fresh produce departments in the United States. However, they have become important because of their novelty of taste, color, and the diversity of the food or beverage products that use these fruits in juices and other products. Store staff will be frequently asked about these fruits when they are the main or contributory ingredients in natural products, so it is useful for staff to become familiar with their names and beneficial properties.
Acai – Native to Central and South America. Acai is rich in antioxidants that help neutralize free-radicals. It provides Vitamin A and healthy fats in addition to high fiber content.
Bilberry – Found in temperate climates throughout the world, bilberries are close relatives of the blueberry. They contain anthocyanosides, which appear to protect the retina in addition to strengthening blood vessels.
Black Currant – Native to northern Europe and Asia, high in Vitamin C, also supplies gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), iron, potassium, and Vitamin B5; contains anthocyanins, which have shown inflammation-fighting effects in studies.
Goji berry – Native to Asia and Eastern Europe. Also known as wolfberry. Rich source of antioxidant phytonutrients and carotenoids such as beta-carotene; used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve circulation, fight insomnia, and protect the eyes and liver.
Mangosteen – Native to islands in the South Pacific. Used by traditional healers to treat skin and digestive tract infections; contains xanthones, which are under investigation for possible anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and cancer-protective effects.
Noni – Native to Southeast Asia but now widely cultivated in tropical areas. Contains phytonutrients that may help ease inflammation, protect the cardiovascular system, and fight cancer development
Pomegranate – Grown from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent and in the US. Fresh pomegranates are seasonal and may be found in fresh produce departments of large natural food stores. Pomegranates contain antioxidant tannins, which may protect the heart. Studies show that daily consumption of pomegranate juice may promote normal blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks. Long used in India’s Ayurvedic medicine as an astringent and heart tonic; pomegranates have helped fight the development of cancer and atherosclerosis in laboratory studies.